At your death, a will serves as a road map, telling your personal representative how to distribute your assets. Without a will, you are powerless over how your assets are distributed. Instead the laws of the state where your residence is determines how your assets are divided.
Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney permits the holder of the power to act on behalf of another individual grantor and lapses upon the grantor’s incompetence. A durable power of attorney survives the incompetence of the grantor and allows the holder the power to act.
Living Will or Health Care Proxy
By creating a living will, you can articulate your beliefs on life-sustaining measures. You can name a trusted individual to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so. The health care proxy is used only for medical purposes. Like a living will, the health care proxy states when life support equipment should be disconnected and medical efforts should cease. This is an important component of estate planning and can be prepared by your attorney.